“So what the heck is this going to be about?” I hear you cry, all two of you who actually read this. “Lots of people have brothers, why so special?” Bear with me though. This is, well, I think it is, an amazing story of how wonderful my family is. Oh yes, I am very lucky, I know. I wish all of you this luck.
I was unaware that I had a brother until about two years ago. He is older than me, by 6 years. When I was 7 I distinctly remember asking my parents for an older brother; I had seen close relationships in school and was jealous. I will admit also to hoping that said older brother would have attractive friends who I could date. I didn’t think this at age 7 in such a detailed way, but the formative suggestion was in the back of my mind (take that, naysayers who believe one so young cannot possibly know their own sexuality!).
Jack* found my sister in a very convoluted way. He was looking for his father, whose name and date of birth he knew. Now, I should explain here that there is an age difference between my parents, with father being older than mother. Plus, it was the 1960s. So my sister Jezebel* (sorry, couldn’t resist) and I thought there may be a possibility that there could be half-siblings out there and apparently when at university signed up to Genes Reunited, listing our details just in case. This was 18 years ago, and both of us had forgotten about it.
A friend of Jack’s looked on there and found our father’s details. My sister runs a business which has an online presence, and her name was quite distinctive, so she received a phone call from said friend. I paraphrase:
Friend: “Do we know a [father’s full name] whose date of birth is [full date of birth]?”
Sister: “Why do you want to know?”
Friend: “I think my friend may be his son”.
Sister: “Well, I doubt it, but give me your details and I’ll pass them on”.
Phone call to father:
Sister: “I had this phone call ….”
Father: “I think there’s something you should know….”
I got a phone call very shortly after this one.
Both my sister and I had the same reaction. We were utterly, completely and totally thrilled with the idea. I can only speak for my deeper reactions, but our initial joy was complete. We both don’t understand how anyone could be upset by this, although I think we were helped by the further discovery that our brother Jack is lovely, a decent, kind, caring man who just wants to know his family. Bonus, my sister’s children now have cousins around their age and living quite near to them, which they would never have had if Jack had not turned up.
We have met up, celebrated birthdays and been around at Christmas. It is two years on, and we are still getting to know each other, but it is slightly ridiculous how much we have in common. Of course, it makes sense, my father would be attracted to people who are interested in the same things as him, so of course the upbringings we all had would be similar in tastes and social environment if not perhaps in the physical and financial sense. We discovered we used to go to the same clubs, although my sister more than I. We like the same bands, have many of the same values, and there is a definite family resemblance especially between myself and Jack as we both take after our father.
Our father. That is still strange and exciting to me. I have a brother and we have the same father. I still very much enjoy saying that.
My father and mother sat us down for a ‘family meeting’ to explain exactly how this all happened, and I am not going to go into the details of that as it is private, and for my father and mother to tell if they want to. What I can say is my reaction. I know my father, and for all his faults (which aren’t many, but he wouldn’t be human if he didn’t have some) he is a decent, honourable, caring man. The story he told merely showed I was right in my beliefs about him. There is nothing to fault him in any of his conduct, at any point in the history of the situation. I know he feared our reaction, but he needn’t have. Our parents brought us up to be understanding and empathetic, possibly without realising it. Their example meant we knew before being told that however convoluted, confusing or heartbreaking the story, it would not have been one which would reflect badly in any way on any person within it.
Frankly, the story just made me realise even more how lucky I am to have my parents. I wish you all could have them as parents.
Love does not halve or slice itself off in shards the more people you allow to enter into your heart. It grows and expands, the more love you give the more you have capacity to give. I very much believe that. Having a brother and having a new set of in-laws and children of in-laws has increased my capacity to love and I am so grateful for that. Of course, it helps that I really like them.
I have a brother. I am happier than I can say about that!
*names changed to protect the innocent and not online.